With the high cost of summer courses, some students cannot afford to take classes, which may ultimately prolong their graduation date. However, by summer 2006, UCI will begin receiving the full amount of funds promised by the state and will be able to offer students additional financial aid for the summer.
According to Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships Brent Yunek, financial aid has always been available for the summer.
‘Students can use grants or scholarships that they have not used up during the preceding academic year for summer,’ Yunek said.
However, the additional financial aid that will be offered during the summer will be grant funds that are similar to the grants that are available during the academic year through the UC’s grant program. The university hopes that the newly available financial aid will encourage students to take classes during the summer and graduate earlier.
‘In the past, students have had to rely on mainly loans and small portions leftover from their prior academic year,’ Yunek said.
The state is making funds available to campuses through budget appropriations to expand their summer programs and to encourage summer enrollment. In the past, state funding was not available to support summer classes. The newly available summer funding is one way to accommodate the great demand for enrollment.
‘The funding enables campuses to make use of physical resources that might be underutilized,’ Yunek said. ‘One part of the plan is to improve the school’s ability to offer courses that the students need. The campus is able to hire faculty and offer the classes. The other side of the coin is providing access via financial aid for students to attend.’
Applying for financial aid for summer 2006 will be similar to this year’s process.
‘Students don’t need to fill out another FAFSA to apply for financial aid for the summer,’ Yunek said. ‘Students need to fill out the summer financial aid application, available online or in the financial aid office.’
Applications for summer financial aid are available during mid-March and due by the beginning of May. The financial aid office is then able to see what classes the student will be taking and determine how much aid is available for the student. The summer grant program funded by the state will be based only on need.
‘We will be putting out more information by early winter quarter of the coming academic year to notify students with what is available,’ Yunek said.
The amount of financial aid available for students taking summer classes is difficult to determine because the summer quarter does not have a flat fee.
‘We need to know what the allocation of the funds will be and what the student’s course load will be for the summer to determine how much financial aid is available to them,’ Yunek said.
Unlike the current summer financial aid guidelines, financial aid received during the summer will not affect financial aid available to students for the academic school year.
‘The purpose of having a source for summer funding is to not take from financial aid for the academic year and it should encourage students to take advantage of the programs available during the summer,’ Yunek said.
Gary Matkin, dean of UCI’s Continuing Education and director of the summer sessions, added, ‘We are going to be adding some student-life activities during the summer to move toward being a more active quarter.’
This summer, graduating seniors who are completing degree requirements may be eligible for up to $1,088, equivalent to tuition for eight units, in grants. Graduating seniors are encouraged to apply, before the program is opened up to the entire campus next summer.
First-year biological sciences major Lauren Reyes thinks that the available funding will bring a higher enrollment.
‘It’s better now that you can get financial aid for summer school,’ Reyes said. ‘There is more incentive for students to take summer classes.’
Said first-year biological sciences major Daniel Stefanko, ‘I believe that by providing financial aid for summer school, it gives the students an incentive to remain at UCI all year long, and to further contribute to the research and laboratory studies here, especially in the sciences.’
Filed Under: News